Oil and Gas

UPDATE 1-Ukraine says paid in full Sept bill for Russia gas

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KIEV, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Ukraine has paid in full and on time its September bill for Russian gas imports, state energy company Naftogaz said on Tuesday.

Naftogaz’s previous delays in paying for gas bills led to rows with Moscow and disruption of gas supplies to Europe, which receives about 20 percent of its gas from Russia running through Ukrainian territory.

Earlier, government officials had said that the September bill amounted to $400 million. “The money is in Gazprom’s account,” a Naftogaz spokesman told Reuters, referring to Russia’s state export gas monopoly.

Naftogaz’s finances have been wrecked by steep price hikes for Russian gas over the past few years while it sells the gas on domestically at stable -- and now far lower -- prices.

The government and, indirectly, the central bank have been helping Naftogaz with its gas bills.

Ukraine itself is surviving on a $16.4 billion International Monetary Fund bailout package and the fund allowed the last tranche of $3.3 billion to be used for foreign debt obligations including Naftogaz’s needs.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has said before however that Ukraine could import less than it had promised without facing penalties from Gazprom, and Russian officials have so far agreed. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Sabina Zawadzki; Editing by Louise Ireland))